Leaders: ‘Parents must be aware of all the risks’

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On any list of things which modern parents worry about, their child’s use of mobile phones is likely to feature fairly high.

The moment when you first allow your offspring to carry one has major benefits, both in terms of safety – they can always call you if they are in trouble – and keeping in touch.

But it also comes with a whole new set of worries about the pitfalls awaiting youngsters on the internet and social media.

There has long been concerns about mobiles being used by bullies to send abusive texts, or take and share humiliaiting photos.

But the unfettered access which modern phones allow to the internet opens up a whole further set of potential problems.

This is particularly true for large numbers of today’s parents who are not as new media savvy as their children. How many allow their children to go on Facebook, for instance, without really understanding fully what the site does and how other people use it?

Schools will inevitably see problems associated with widespread use of mobiles by youngsters.

Teachers have a responsibility to police their use and promote awareness of the risks, and if they need further powers or training in order to be able to do that effectively then they should receive them.

But teachers have no control over what children do the moment they walk out of the school gate.

Parents have to take the first responsibility for how their children use their phones. That means making sure they are aware of the risks and keeping an appropriate level of checks on their phone use.

Of course, none of that is possible without at least a basic understanding of social media and what else is available on the internet.

. . and she’s off

IT is sad that elite athletes find themselves forced out of Edinburgh as they work to reach the very top of their sport.

Like Chris Hoy before her, we tell today how Olympic runner Lynsey Sharp is having to relocate to England to continue her career with the best facilities and coaches.

Lynsey, of course, hit the headlines last month when she was frozen out of Meadowbank for health and safety reasons. It was a story which brought the state of our sport facilities and talk of an Olympic and Commonwealth legacy into the spotlight.

Things are said to be improving, but it will take a huge investment if we are to stop the exodus of our top sportsmen and women. That won’t happen overnight, but we should be grateful to Lynsey for firing the starting gun on the debate.